Year levels



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Monday to Friday (during school term)

Discover how scientists are helping the conservation of an Australian species. Collect data to determine how its adaptations enable it to interact and survive within its ecosystem.

Program description

VCE Biology Unit 2

In this program, students will explore real-life examples to learn how inherited adaptations impact on biodiversity. They will discover how science is used to communicate contemporary bioethical issues. They will build their knowledge about species adaptations, ecological relationships and human impacts. 

Students will conduct scientific investigations and collect data, which can be used as part of school-based assessment for VCE Biology Unit 2. This program is available in Terms 1, 2 and 3.

Students will learn: 

  • How structural, behavioural and physiological adaptations enhance species survival
  • About the interdependencies of species within an ecosystem
  • The science and bioethics involved in real wildlife conservation projects
  • How to conduct a practical investigation, including obtaining and analysing data

Program sequence

Before your visit


Use the activities in the Teaching Guide (below) to spark students' curiosity and prepare them for activities they will do while at the Sanctuary.

During your visit

Connect and Understand

Students will learn about the biology of Australian animals and the bioethics considered in captive breeding programs. They will learn how to use ethograms to conduct a practical scientific investigation and collect real data.

Your Sanctuary visit will include:  A Welcome (for arrivals between 9:50am – 10.10am), Healesville Sanctuary Teacher workshop (80 minutes), Spirits of the Sky presentation and Keeper talks. Check out your Teaching Guide for other ideas of what to do at the Sanctuary.

After your visit


Use activities in the Teaching Guide to help students complete their practical investigation and reflection back at school. 


Use the Teaching Guide to enable students to master their knowledge and skills in real-world contexts.

Program maps 

Digital maps will be provided to you on the day.

Program resources

VCE teaching guides are password protected. You will receive the password via email before your excursion. You can also request the password upon booking.

Learning outcomes

Victorian Certificate of Education (VCE) – Biology

Unit 2: How does inheritance impact on biodiversity?

Area of Study 2: How do inherited adaptations impact on biodiversity?

  • Students will investigate structural, behavioural and physiological adaptations, as well as reproductive strategies, that enhance an organism’s chance of survival and enable life to exist in a wide range of environments
  • Students will learn about survival through interdependencies between species, including the impact of changes to keystone species and predators and their ecological roles in structuring and maintaining the distribution, density and size of a population in an ecosystem

Area of Study 3: How do humans use science to explore and communicate contemporary bioethical issues?

  • Students will explore a bioethical issue related to assisted reproductive technologies, with a focus on captive breeding programs

Plan your excursion 

This programis an outdoor all-weather program; the students will need appropriate clothing for weather conditions. This could include a raincoat, hat and sun protection. 

Bring what students need to record their research e.g. notes, drawings, photographs, videos, voice memos, diagrams.  

School groups will enter Healesville Sanctuary via the Main Entrance. Organising teachers please check in with our Admissions team upon arrival. More information.

Book your education experience

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You will need to know the following to book your zoo excursion or online workshop:

  • Education program of your choice (if applicable)
  • Preferred date
  • School name and address
  • Contact details of organising teacher
  • Number of students/classes and their year level